American League Manager of the Year: Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
Servais enjoyed some success in 2016, going 86-76 in his first year as the Seattle’s skipper. That was a 10-game improvement from 2015. While we’re not expecting another 10-game bump from the Mariners in 2017, we do expect to see postseason baseball in Seattle for the first time since 2001.
Coincidentally, that’s also the last time a Mariners’ manager won this award.
If the rest of the American League goes as expected, even contending for a playoff spot gives Servais a huge edge in the Manager of the Year race.
Teams like the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros all may top Seattle in the standings, though we expect that at least one will not.
But the Indians, Red Sox, Rangers and Blue Jays all made the playoffs in 2016. The Astros did not but qualified the year before and had the eventual World Series champs on the ropes. They also have one of the junior circuit’s best rosters.
The Mariners have been close in 2014 and 2016. But overall, this is a franchise that’s dealt with a lot of futility over the last 16 years.
Breaking away from that futility and ending longest postseason drought will be what bolsters him in the eyes of the voters.